I'm about to throw my tank out the window! - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-09-2006, 03:44 AM Thread Starter
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I'm about to throw my tank out the window!

All these chemicals.... So confusing! I'm trying to grow plants, not cook meth!

Ok.. I've got a ten gallon aquarium. It has 2 19 watt screw in PC's in the hood. I'm using a 3 liter co2 bottle with it.

I want to do a 50% water change once a week. We have well water, and it's cloudy and basically has no GH or KH. I want to take 5 gallons of RO water and use that for my 50% water changed. In truth, considering rocks and gravel, The tank probably holds 7 or 8 gallons.

Now.. Lets see.. If i had .06 Tsp. of KNO3 to the five gallons of new water, that should give me a Nitrate level of 10.97 PPM, right? If I add .12 Tsp. Of KCl that would give me a Potassium level if 19.86 PPM, right? I'm also going to add 1 ML of flourish.

This is where it gets SO tricky! For me, atleast.

If I add .28 Tsp. of Epsoms Salt to the 5 gallon bucket of fresh water , I'll get a Magnesium Level of 7.87 PPM. That's good right? How will this affect my GH? Since I'm using RO water, don't I need Calcium, too?

If I add a half teaspoon of Baking soda, Will my KH be in the right range for this five gallon bucket?



Now, after all that is done, Can I add that chemical cocktail to my tank? Will the levels change enough to worry about assuming I do this weekly? What do I do seven days from now? Can I repeat all that? Thats really more like a 60% water change. I'm so confused guys! Please help! I'm no chemist! I've been reading for HOURS and i'm just as confused as ever!

By the way, the only inhabitants are Red Cherry shrimp and 3 ottos. Just got them today (the ottos). I'm running 100 ml's of purigen in the filter if that matters.

I'm growing Ludwigia repens, Ludwigia sp. cuba, Downoi, HC, Anubias and moss, And i'll be getting some green narrow rotala macandra and dwarf lobelia in soon. I'm using shults substrate and sand.

And I've read Rex's guide. It's great, but I'm just in the dark here. I want someone who knows what they are doing to tell me what to do. I'd rather not buy real aquarium products if I get get buy with "ghetto" substances, but I i have to, I will.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-09-2006, 05:07 AM
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Your calculations are ok. The phosphate level you are shooting for is too high. You will also need to take into consideration what the plants are using if you want to maintain a somewhat stable level.

You will need to add calcium as well. Most people use CaCl, some CaCO3, some CaNO3.

Adding Ca and Mg will affect your GH - unless you're keeping some difficult soft water plants - don't worry about it. You want a GH of at least 4-5. Some go a little lower.

I use straight RO, and I do NOT dose anything for KH.

I've heard mixed reviews on the Purigen. Some swear by it, others fear it may remove some of your trace elements. I've tried it in the past and can report nothing good, and nothing bad as a result.

Now how the heck are you going to measure 0.06 teaspoons?

Sergio C.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-09-2006, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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Hmm... I re-read my post and I don't see any mention of phosphate. While we are at it, about hwo many drops of Fleet is that?

What does KH do? I don't want my tank to crash and my fish and shrimp to die.

My mom (i'm 16, almost 17) is into crafts and she gave me a 1/32 tsp. spoon and a 1/4 tsp. spoon. So 2 of the small spoons (1/32 tsp) will be .06 tsp.

What if my Kh and/Or GH get too high? My ludwigia somthingorother looks like it has a calcium defienciency, but Last night I downloaded chucks calculator and found out I was dosing about 40 ppm of KCl.. So yeah lol. I still need to add calcium if i'm going to use RO water.

Back when I was in reefing, which to me is way easier than this stuff, we dosed kalkwasser (pickling lime pretty much). Can I use that To add calcium? How?

Sorry for my dumb questions, but this is really hard for me lol.

Am I trying to do what they called the EI method?
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-09-2006, 02:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justlikeapill View Post
Hmm... I re-read my post and I don't see any mention of phosphate. While we are at it, about hwo many drops of Fleet is that?
Lol...guess that does say potassium doesn't it! One drop of Fleets will give your 5g between 1.5 and 2 ppm PO4

Quote:
Originally Posted by justlikeapill View Post
What does KH do? I don't want my tank to crash and my fish and shrimp to die.
It is your water's carbonate concentation. It buffers your water. Some plants can even use it as a carbon source. Since you're injecting CO2, they probably won't. We've been told for many years that without a KH of 2 or 3 we run the risk of a "pH crash" when injecting CO2. We're finding that in practice, that doesn't really happen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by justlikeapill View Post
My mom (i'm 16, almost 17) is into crafts and she gave me a 1/32 tsp. spoon and a 1/4 tsp. spoon. So 2 of the small spoons (1/32 tsp) will be .06 tsp.
Fair enough! In a tank that small, I would make a stock solution and dose that. See chuck's calculator.

Quote:
Originally Posted by justlikeapill View Post
What if my Kh and/Or GH get too high? My ludwigia somthingorother looks like it has a calcium defienciency, but Last night I downloaded chucks calculator and found out I was dosing about 40 ppm of KCl.. So yeah lol. I still need to add calcium if i'm going to use RO water.
You can reset it with a water change - just don't add any after it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by justlikeapill View Post
Back when I was in reefing, which to me is way easier than this stuff, we dosed kalkwasser (pickling lime pretty much). Can I use that To add calcium? How?
NO! Kalkwasser will strip the CO2 out of your water.

Quote:
Originally Posted by justlikeapill View Post
Am I trying to do what they called the EI method?
It's a good place to start.

Sergio C.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-09-2006, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
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What do I add for calcium? A KH of 2 or 3 is good right? What If It was kept at say 5 or so? What If I kept my Gh at say 6 or something? Is stability the key?
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-09-2006, 03:56 PM
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You can add CaCl. Check out Greg Watson's site. Better yet, get some Barr's GH booster and don't worry about the epsom salt. You probably won't need the potassium either if you go that route. KH of 2, 3 or 5 is fine as long as you don't intend to keep any fussy soft water plants. GH of 6 is ok too.

Sergio C.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-09-2006, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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Are there any "ghetto" sources of CaCl? It looks like CaCl is all I need, now.

thanks for putting up with my stress, lol.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-10-2006, 01:00 AM Thread Starter
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Why can't I just buy some Seachem Equilibrium and Seachem Alkalinity buffer and add the correct amounts as per directions, then go ahead and add nitrate, phosphate, potassium, and flourish?

Sure It costs a lot but if it'll save me a headache I don't mind. Does petsmart usually carry them? I looked at their website but couldn't find anything.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-10-2006, 01:10 AM
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JLaP:

Hi. Dry dosing is very good for large to very large aquariums. Drops (PMDD) is better for small volumes of water. Basically, make a concentrated stock and add back # of drops...

Practical PMDD Information

Moved to Tucson.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-10-2006, 02:00 AM Thread Starter
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I have decided it would be easiest for me to use Seachem Equilibrium and Seachem Alkaline Buffer and add those to RO water.

Heres a question. Why do I need the Acid buffer they suggest using with alkaline buffer? Is this so that I can add the Acid buffer to match the PH of the new, fresh water with the water of my tank? will adding the acid buffer to the new, fresh water affect the GH and KH? It IS important to match the PH, KH and GH of the new water in the 5 gallon bucket with the water left in the tank, right?

Should I let the water sit overnight and then add these chemicals and let them disolve say, 30 minutes before I change the water? I'm using a hagen co2 system, so would it be best to change the water in the middle of the day?

Thank you guys so much for all of your help!

Edit: Here is seachem's profile for acid buffer. Acid Buffer

It says that "If using with RO or DI water for a water change, then use with Alkaline Buffer™ at a fixed ratio (see chart) to set the desired pH. "

But it also says that it will Lower the KH and convert it into CO2. Someone please explain to me how it's a good idea to add these two products? Aren't I adding the Alkaline buffer to raise the Kh of the Ro water? Would't the Acid buffer make it too low? Someone please explain this to me.

As soon as I figure out how these three Seachem products interact with each other, I'll feel pretty confident.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-10-2006, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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Do I need the acid buffer?

If I get my KH and GH in the 5 gallon bucket to the same level as the tank water, isn't that what's really important? Isn't it ok for the new water's PH to be higher than the tank water since i'm injecting co2?

Say tank waters PH is 6.5-6.8, the the new water's ph is 7.5 (i'm making up numbers), and the KH and GH levels in both bodies of water are the same, can't I just add the water back to the tank? Maybe use a siphon to put it in the tank over the coarse of 15 minutes?
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-10-2006, 06:22 PM
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Don't bother with the Acid Buffer. The rest of your assumptions are ok. I wouldn't bother trying to siphon - my plants/fish never minded when I dumped new water in - and there was a pH change overall of about 0.6-0.8 when I did.

Sergio C.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-16-2006, 10:51 AM
 
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With a tank that size i probably wouldnt bother with dry fert dosing and just go for a reliable liquid fert such as the Seachem range. If you figure it out, after a few years using dry ferts you will save a only a few dollars.

The reason why people dose dry for large tanks is because your dealing with a bigger volume of water and chew through ferts quicker. Small tanks on the other hand only need a few drops of liquid stuff and a 250ml bottle will last a very long time in that volume of water.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-16-2006, 08:25 PM
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About buffering: Technically, buffering means holding the pH of the water to a fixed value. It doesn't mean preventing the pH from dropping, nor does it mean preventing the pH from rising. It means doing both. So, a high KH does not buffer the water. It just raises the pH for a given amount of CO2 in the water, and keeps the pH higher than it would be with a lower KH. When Seachem recommends adding both an acid buffer and an alkaline buffer, they are talking about really buffering the water - setting the pH at a desired level where it will stay with high or low CO2.

But, pH is not a major parameter for aquarium water. Instead, pH is an indication of other things happening in the water, such as CO2 being absorbed by the water or being outgassed from the water. In nature the pH of a flowing stream changes a lot, depending on whether it has just rained, whether a spring is dominating the water supply, whether there are a lot of dead leaves in the water, etc. Fish are used to that, so our pH in the ranges we see are not a problem for almost any fish.

Short version: don't obsess over pH.

Hoppy
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